Rich Diamond is a puzzle game in a similar vein to the Dexterity game we reviewed, Fitznik. In turn based isometric steps, the aim is to collect all of the diamonds on the level and get to the exit. Obstacles include boulders that can be pushed, shooting arrows and the odd enemy.
The levels slope and boulders will roll 'down' (south) if pushed or merely moved near. Arrows too, trigger when you move near and you have boxes to push (but not pull) so you can use them to fill pits or just have them get in the way, in the style of Sokoban.
The graphics are a disappointment. The monsters are drawn and animated well, and the main character is particularly good but the backgrounds are very spartan. There are very few graphics for each type of tile and the levels quickly become boring to the eye. The text is easy to read and the menu is easy to navigate but doesn't have any of the graphical effects that a good game should have and generally the presentation is not greater than average. There seems to be support for some video, although this doesn't appear to be present in the (already large) download version.
The game has some CD only music which I couldn't judge and some pleasant midi music. Let's face it, midi music always sounds bad but the quality of the composition is good. The game might benefit from an mp3 style format.
The sound effects, which are often stereo, are good if sometimes inconsistent. The main character speaks and the robot activation speech caught my ear too. There are very few ambient effects and no effects for the menu. Some insects or torch burning in the background, or even echoed footsteps, could have been used to add atmosphere but those sounds are not there. The action takes place in a cave but only one or two sounds have any reverb.
The game play is very satisfactory. There are a lot of levels, a level editor, and enough variety to the puzzles to stop things becoming boring. A good tutorial introduces you to the game, and messages that appear when you stand on certain squares appear throughout to give you some hints or encouragement. The game can be played in English or Spanish too.
You can use either the mouse or keyboard to control everything, and the only command is move in each direction so there are no keys to remember. Monsters move in turns too, so you have time to think out your next move and most of the features taken as standard are there like save, and restart level. There is no auto-solve or show solution feature though.
Like many puzzle games you can select any level to play. Although I recognise that many puzzle games work this way, I've never been keen on the idea because it removes a powerful incentive to solve a level. However it's a matter of my personal taste and I have not downgraded the marking over this issue.
Rich Diamond is an average quality game that is solidly programmed. It's every bit as playable as Fitznik, and at a slightly lower price point, but if you compare the graphics and presentation you'll find that this game comes second.
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